Working in Brisbane?
Pensions and Taxes for Expats in Brisbane
Superannuation – the National Pension Plan
When you start working in Brisbane, you’ll hear the term “super” every now and then. The word is short for “superannuation”, the Australian retirement and pension plan.
If you are an expat with a temporary visa, you don’t have any right to an Australian state pension. However, if you make more than 450 AUD (before income tax) a month, your employer pays 9.5 percent of your gross salary into a “super” fund nonetheless. Don’t forget to claim this money upon leaving Australia. For this purpose, you have to apply for a DASP (Departing Australia Superannuation Payment) with the Australian Taxation Office. File the application online on the ATO website.
If you are an Australian citizen or permanent visa holder, you are entitled to an Australian state pension when retiring. The retirement age at the moment is 65; however this will be raised by two years to 67 in 2023. To make a claim on retirement, you usually need ten years of residence in Australia; there may be exceptions in certain social security agreements.
For more information on superannuation, please get in touch with Centrelink or ask in person at the Centrelink Customer Service Centre in Brisbane:
17-19 Lissner Street
Toowong QLD 4066
Open Monday-Friday: 8:30-16:30
Australia’s Bilateral Social Security Agreements
As a temporary resident of Brisbane, you should know whether your country of origin has a social security agreement with Australia. These regulations may influence the sum of your pension entitlements back home.
For example, if you are a German citizen sent to Australia as part of an intra-company transfer for up to four years, you’ll simply remain part of Germany’s national pension plan and don’t have to make any extra arrangements. So, always talk to your social security office back home to see how your time in Brisbane might affect your pension plan contributions.
If you have a private pension fund as well, you should contact your insurance provider for further details. Private pensions are, of course, not covered by social security agreements between Australia and your national government.
At the moment, Australia has social security agreements with these countries:
- Austria, Belgium, Canada, Chile, Croatia, Cyprus, the Czech Republic
- Denmark, Finland, Germany, Greece, Hungary, India, Ireland, Italy, Japan, (South) Korea
- Latvia, Macedonia, Malta, the Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway
- Poland, Portugal, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Switzerland, the USA
Please note that the agreement with the UK is no longer in force.
Taxation in Australia: Fiscal Residency and Getting a TFN
After moving to Brisbane, you should find out soon if you are a fiscal resident of Australia, that means if you are counted as an official resident for purposes of taxation. If you have moved there to live “down under” on a permanent basis, you automatically become a fiscal resident.
You’re also a resident for tax purposes if you have been to Australia for more than six months, have held the same job and lived in the same place (e.g. Brisbane) for this period. However, to make sure what your tax status is, access the ATO website or talk to an accountant familiar with international taxation issues.
As soon as you come to Australia, you need to get a TFN (tax file number). In some cases, you may be able to apply for your TFN online (e.g. as a migrant with a permanent visa or a backpacker with a working holiday one). All other applicants need to phone the tax office (+61 2 6216 1111 for international calls) or call 13 28 61 for a personal appointment at the ATO in Brisbane’s central business district.
Taxation in Australia: Filing your Income Tax Return
The Australian tax year lasts from July 1 to June 30. You have to file your income tax return by the end of October.
As a fiscal resident, you will be taxed on your Australian income (with very few exceptions) and all foreign source income starting on the date when you became a resident of Australia. (However, there are some tax exemptions for temporary residents with foreign investment income.) To avoid double taxation, please check if your country of origin has entered into a bilateral tax treaty with Australia.
If your assignment in Australia ends before the fiscal year is over and you return before June 30, you can lodge an early tax return.
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